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Pfizer, IBM Collaborate to Customize Watson Cloud Product for Immuno-Oncology Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Pfizer and IBM Watson Health announced today that they are planning to collaborate to accelerate immuno-oncology research.

Pfizer will be the first company to customize Watson's cloud-based product, Watson for Drug Development, combining its own proprietary data with licensed and publicly available data. The combined data will enable researchers to utilize Watson's machine learning, natural language processing, and cognitive reasoning technologies to identify new drug targets and devise combination therapies. The Pfizer researchers will also deploy Watson for Drug Development to test hypotheses and make safety assessments for drug candidates.

Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.

"With the incredible volume of data and literature available in this complex field, we believe that tapping into advanced technologies can help our scientific experts more rapidly identify novel combinations of immune-modulating agents," Mikael Dolsten, president of Pfizer Worldwide Research & Development, said in a statement. "We are hopeful that by leveraging Watson's cognitive capabilities in our drug discovery efforts, we will be able to bring promising new immuno-oncology therapeutics to patients more quickly."

The newly launched Watson for Drug Development utilizes information from 25 million Medline abstracts, more than 1 million full-text medical journal articles, and 4 million patents, and is regularly updated, IBM said. It can be customized to add an organization's private data, and reveal patterns in data via dynamic visualizations.

"We believe that the next great medical innovations will emerge as researchers and scientists find new patterns in existing bodies of knowledge," IBM Watson Health Vice President of Life Sciences Lauren O'Donnell said. These groups "need access to R&D tools that can help them efficiently navigate the opportunities and challenges presented by the explosion of data globally."